UK- Watson Wyatt is this week introducing a limited liability aspect to its partnership structure. At present partners’ possessions, including houses, are liable if the consultancy is sued but will be exempt following the introduction of limited liability.

Watson Wyatt says that the growth of claims in all areas of professional services is a factor behind moving to a limited liability partnership (LLP) but it stresses it is not done as a means of shrugging off responsibility.

“The major difference between a partnership and a LLP is that instead of the partners entering into commitments, the LLP does. Instead of partners as individuals being exposed to claims, the LLP is liable. The entire business of the LLP remains at risk - it is simply partners' personal assets that have some protection,” says a spokesman.

The UK government set up limited liability partnerships a few years ago and to date more than 500 limited liability partnerships have been formed, with accountants Ernst & Young being one of the first. Numerous firms are waiting to see the accounting implications are going to be but Watson Wyatt expects others to embrace this structure.

The news come as Watson Wyatt announced the appointment of a record twenty four new partners as of May. They are: Keith Ashton, Andrew Gilchrist, Gareth Oxtoby, Begoña Benito, Karel Goossens, Alan Rae, Mick Calvert, Noel Grant, Andrew Reid, Andrew Campbell, Sarah Heels, Johan Sidenmark, Mark Chaplin, Jonathan Howes, Neil Taverner, David Cross, Andrew Hunt, Susanne Weiss, Howard Dalton, Nobushi Mitsuishi, Neil Wharmby, Manuel de la Rosa, Michael Murphy and Peter Zanella.